Adventures in Craigslisting

Zack built me this beautiful bike in the months leading up to my move. It started with just a frame and wheels, then he added brakes and lights and pedals and a beautiful new leather seat. He asked me what color I wanted it. Sky blue, of course. But darker. But not navy. Kind of cobalt, but lighter, you know? I wasn’t allowed to see it before I got down to Texas. If it was in the same room when we were Skyping he had to move it out of view. We were all really excited about the bike. When I finally moved we took it for a test spin. It was the perfect color. But it scared me. It was a road bike. Hip, definitely, but I was really bad at riding it. Something about the way my shoulders hunched over- I don’t know, I always felt like I was going to fall head first into the street. So we sold it on Craigslist, to a nice girl named Matney (I thought the northeast was bad with family names) who drove all the way from “College Station”, which is the Texan equivalent, or so I’m assuming, of State College. She was nice, but she had no clue about bikes. “We could have sold her anything with wheels,” Zack said. She drove away with the bike and I felt horrible that his hard work was going to go unappreciated. Zack said he didn’t mind but I still felt bad.

***

After about a month of sleeping on a shitty mattress, I had had enough. It killed me that I had to leave the most comfortable bed I had ever slept in back at 501 in the hands of one Michael J. Calabro, but Zack assured me that his mattress was fine.  But it was not. It was springy and thin, and you could hear the coils crushing down every time you collapsed on it. My back hurt, my neck hurt. I was losing sleep! So we took the next step in our relationship…and bought a mattress together. Zack wanted to put the old mattress on the street for one of the crackheads or homeless to take, but when he was at work I put it on Craigslist for fifty dollars. Queen mattress, I posted. Basic. No Frills. One year old. Good for college, good for your guest room, good for yourself if you want it. We are nice, clean people.

I had three phone calls within fifteen minutes. Why do people want used mattresses from strangers? I don’t know. I told the first couple that they could come by after 5, when my boyfriend was home, because to be honest I didn’t feel safe. “I understand,” the guy said. “I’m going to bring my wife too.”

The showed up at our door right on time. There were a married couple. He was kinda little&small, she was kinda big&tall. “I need something firm,” she said. “We have one of those shitty fake Tempurpedic foam things now, and I sink deeper and deeper into it every night.”

“Well, uh,” I said, unsure if this mattress was going to solve any of her problems, “this is a basic queen mattress. It’s nothing special, but it’s probably firmer than what you have right now. You can test it out if you want…”

“That’d be great.”

We dragged it from the kitchen into the living room, where the husband and wife proceeded to lay the mattress, in all its floral glory, on the floor and get on top of it. Zack and I stood above them, hands on our hips.

“What do you think, honey?” The husband asked.

“I think it’s good,” the wife said, “and for fifty bucks, you really can’t beat it.”

We helped them get the mattress out the door and they left.

“I feel horrible,” Zack said, “that mattress sucks.”

“Look,” I said, “I was completely honest with them. I told them it wasn’t fancy. They tested it out. And for fifty bucks, what kind of mattress could they possibly think they’re getting?”

I didn’t really think about it again until we went to sleep on our brand new plush Simmons Beauty Rest mattress. “I hope those people are sleeping okay on that thing,” I said quietly as I was falling asleep. “Mhmm,” Zack replied. We slept like cherubs that night.

***

Then came the dresser, if you could call it that. Another item Zack was going to put on the curb, but I posted it on Craigslist. It had two shelves, one drawer. No back to the thing at all. Twenty dollars. Again, three people interested. Some young dude in a suped up Honda Civic rolled up, took a look, got out his wallet. “Is there an ATM around here?” “No, dude. How much you got?” “Uh, sixteen.” “That’s fine.”

We know your tricks, mister.

***

Everyone buys things they don’t need sometimes. I’m guilty, you’re guilty. Zack is also guilty. He paid twenty dollars for a bamboo table and chairs, which was useless because it had no glass tabletop. We were consolidating because we were moving into the apartment upstairs (safer, with much more sunlight) and it had to go. I posted the title **SUPER CUTE BAMBOO TABLE AND CHAIRS DINING SET** and got six e-mails. Some people are quick at ye olde e-mail. Others are not. One woman, Katherine, was really interested in the set. “I’m sorry,” I told her. “There’s something in line ahead of you.” “I’ll pay you five bucks extra.” “Well, alright.” “I’ll pay you five bucks extra extra if you deliver it to my house.” Well, alright? We’re having a little party, the last e-mail read. Maybe you can stay for a cocktail!

Katherine’s house was only about two miles away. Zack and I pulled up to a sign on the front door. NO MO’ PO POs FOR MO MO, it said. I knocked. No answer. I went to the back door. No answer. We waited in the front yard. A barefoot woman in a shirtdress finally opened the door.

“Oh gosh,” she apologized, “I’m so sorry. We didn’t even hear you.”

“Where’s the party?” I asked. “And what’s with the sign?”

“It’s Mo’s last day of probation!” She explained excitedly, pulling Mo into the doorway.

“Congrats,” we said, “here’s the furniture.”

“I guess the party was too last minute,” Katherine said, “people get wrapped up in their own things. No one’s coming. You could stay for a cocktail?”

Zack was unloading the table and chairs from the car.

“Oh, that’s a shame,” I said. “Here ya go!”

She shoved some cash in my hand, the way parents used to pay me after being relieved of babysitting for the night. I didn’t look.

“Thank you so much for delivering. We really appreciate it.”

We drove away from the transaction this time. “They were totally just boning,” Zack said. “That’s why they didn’t hear the door.”

In the morning I received another e-mail from Katherine.

Thanks so much for the delivery!  We love it!  Sorry we didn’t hear you knocking.  We should probably get a doorbell.

***

So I got a new bike right after we sold the pretty blue one. We traveled out to Katy and bought it from a suburban dad who had a small collection in his garage. He had a modest home in a cookie-cutter community. I gave the bike a test run in the cul-de-sac and I bought it for $65. The dad was nice, and the bike was nice.  That’s the weird thing about Craigslist. It seems that if there’s some sort of commute involved, and the people selling are nice enough, you’ll buy whatever it is more often than not. And if you get home and your new purchase isn’t what you thought it would be, then you just list it again. Because there’s always someone who wants what you’re selling.

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